Whether from a sports injury, overuse, or the aging process, sustaining a ligament injury can severely impact your mobility and quality of life. While orthopedic medicine has tried treatments like tissue grafting and synthetic prostheses, neither of these treatments appear to have lasting effects or the ability to fully heal a torn ligament.
The good news is that regenerative medicine may be able to help. Stem cell therapy uses cells that have not differentiated into specialized cells to target areas that have been damaged in the body. When administered to an area of the body that has been damaged, stem cells work to regenerate and replace damaged tissue, and to restore strength and mobility to the injured ligament.
At Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria, we are proud to offer stem cell therapy as a treatment for ligament repair. Learn more about common ligament injuries, how stem cell therapy can help, and contact us today if you’re interested in a regenerative medicine procedure.
Common Ligament Injuries
While you may feel impervious to injury, there are several ligament injuries that are more common than you would realize. Understanding how likely you are to sustain a ligament injury will solidify the importance of finding quality care and treatment if and when you do suffer from an injury.
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of two ligaments that attach to the tibia and femur to form the knee joint. It acts as a stabilizer and prevents the tibia from sliding forward. Unfortunately, a torn ACL is one of the most common knee injuries that a person can sustain.
Common treatments for a torn ACL involve crutches and sometimes surgery depending on the severity of the tear. It’s important for someone with a torn ACL to stay off of it to prevent further injury.
The temporomandibular joint, often referred to as TMJ, is a jaw joint that can become easily injured. The ligaments that reinforce the joint can become damaged due to clenching teeth, grinding teeth, or even overusing the joint, such as chewing gum.
As the joint and ligaments are strained, the sufferer will experience limited movement of their jaw and pain that ranges from mild discomfort to excruciating stabs. Treatments involve focused relaxation, wearing a mouthguard while you sleep, and taking pain reliever — all of which have limited effectiveness.
Even if you aren’t a star athlete, you can injure a ligament by simply stepping the wrong way. A sprained ankle is, by far, one of the most common ligament injuries a person can sustain. In fact, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, nearly 25,000 people sprain their ankle every day. That’s a lot of people hobbling around on crutches.
Sprained ankles can be so severe that surgery is required. This is necessary when a ligament tears and can’t heal on its own. Surgery reconnects the ligament so that it can continue to heal.
Those who are avid runners may be familiar with this one. Often referred to as “jogger’s heel,” plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive stress to the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Pain is localized to the heel and arch of the affected foot, making walking uncomfortable or even impossible.
It’s important to stay off of a foot that has sustained an injury to the plantar fascia so that the micro-tears can heal. If further damage is sustained, surgery may be necessary.
If you fall, one of the reasons you shouldn’t try to catch yourself with your hands is because of the strain this puts on different joints and ligaments in your arm. One joint in particular, called the acromioclavicular or AC joint, is particularly susceptible to injury from a fall or receiving a blow to the shoulder.
The ligaments that surround this joint connect the shoulder blade and the collarbone, and are injured during these accidents. If you’ve sustained a shoulder separation injury, you’ll most likely need to wear a sling or even undergo surgery.
How Stem Cells Repair Ligaments
With treatment options being limited to slings and braces, pain reliever, and — in extreme cases — surgery, you may be wondering if there are other viable options to repair ligament damage.
This is where stem cell therapy comes in. While you should still wear a brace and use crutches to let damaged ligaments heal, stem cells can accelerate the healing process by activating the body’s natural healing mechanism. When injected at the site of an injury, stem cells work to repair, regenerate, and reconnect damaged tissue.
If you’re interested in this avenue of regenerative medicine for a ligament injury, contact Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria today to request an appointment.